Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: Jack Wilshere can handle latest injury setback
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Jack Wilshere can put his latest injury setback behind him to play a major part this season after it was confirmed the England midfielder needed surgery to fix a hairline fracture in his left leg.
Wilshere, 23, has battled through a string of fitness issues which have halted his progress in recent campaigns.
Following further medical examinations on the injury suffered in pre-season, the decision has now been taken that an operation is needed to properly correct the problem which will see a small plate inserted into the bone, and a rehabilitation time of around three months.
Wenger, who is already without forward Danny Welbeck until at least Christmas following knee surgery, moved to allay fears over Wilshere's long-term recovery prospects.
Speaking in Croatia ahead of the Champions League Group F opener against Dinamo Zagreb, the Arsenal boss said: "Like every player, he wants to play football and he is disappointed, but he has shown in the past he can deal with that. I think he was determined to do it quickly and come back as quickly as possible.
"We are still at the start of the season. We are now mid-September, so after three months - mid-December - he can be back. There is still a long way to play after.
" This kind of injury is not a kind of injury which can damage your career. It is just a bone that did not heal well.
"They need to put a little clip in. That is nothing major, not a career-threatening injury."
Wenger continued: " I am not a specialist. I think this was just an accident which was not linked with his ankles. It just a bone injury."
Wenger had initially indicated Wilshere would be out for a matter of weeks, and had been pencilled in for a comeback following the international break.
He said: "I am not a bone specialist, so I would not like to give too many details. I have been explained the situation, but I leave that to the medical people. There is nothing malicious in there, just a part of his bone that has not healed."
When Wilshere eventually returns to first-team action, he could have well missed around 1,000 days of football in total.
Wenger, though, rejected suggestions that should be an on-going concern.
"When you are injured and you come back, you always go through a vulnerable period, where you need to strengthen your body again, to gain competition," he said.
"I think he is young enough to get over that and I hope his body will stabilise, I am confident he will and that he can make a career his talent deserves."
Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta, who himself spent a large part of last season out injured, believes the players must do their part to help Wilshere through.
"He has an enormous talent and support from every department of the club, and from the players because we feel sorry for him, and because we know we cannot waste his talent because he has an amazing career ahead of him," the Spaniard said.
"We are responsible for putting that into his head every day and do not allow him to fall down because at some stage that is the danger, that he does not believe in himself or his body and he needs to trust himself."
Arsenal travelled to Zagreb without midfielder Aaron Ramsey and full-back Hector Bellerin, who are rested.
Centre-back Per Mertesacker, who was involved in a minor road traffic accident earlier this week, also stayed in London to continue his recovery from a virus.
Dinamo have now not lost in a formidable run of some 41 matches, and l ast season they became the first team to go unbeaten through a Prva Liga campaign.
However, the Croatians have never previously qualified for the knock-out stages, and have endured a 15-game winless run in the competition proper.
Wenger said: "Croatian football produces always top level technical quality, that is their strength.
"We have to focus on our own performance and to beat them have to play at our best and without speculating on any weak link in a team that has not lost a game for 11 months."
Arsenal defeated Stoke 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday to continue their Premier League recovery.
After returning from Croatia, next up is a trip to Chelsea, whose manager Jose Mourinho is under some pressure following a poor domestic start.
Wenger said: "I believe that is part of our job and I would not say much more than that.
"What is important is we focus on our game. You are quickly out in the Champions League if you do not start well.
"We know we have a vital game and it is important we focus on that."